Internet Content Industry Outlook Bright Despite Regulatory Woes
The Zacks Internet – Content industry comprises providers of video encoding platform, personal services, Internet content & information, staffing & outsourcing services, publishing, capital markets and media-based companies.
Apart from the United States, a number of companies in this industry are located in the Netherlands, Israel, United Kingdom, Germany, Russia and China.
Here are the three major industry themes:
- The industry is characterized by rapid technological change, frequent product and service introductions, and evolving standards. An expanding range of mobile and cloud-based offerings by industry participants is a major growth driver. Moreover, proliferation of smart devices and increasing automation of the application development process bode well.
- Industry participants are focusing on marketing efforts to boost traffic to their websites. Advertising and subscriptions are major sources of revenues for these companies. Also, the industry is susceptible to consumer spending trends, making holiday spending a major deciding factor.
- Industry participants, involved in online search and other social-networking activities, are increasingly facing regulatory pressure, particularly in China and the European Union (EU). The China government has a number of regulations related to direct advertising, which is a prime revenue source for these companies. Moreover, post Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal that affected 87 million users, the industry participants have been facing rigorous scrutiny in the United States as well as the EU. The implementation of General Data Protection Regulation, which took effect on May 25, 2018 in the EU, adds to the concerns.
Zacks Industry Rank Indicates Solid Prospects
The Zacks Internet - Content industry is housed within the broader Zacks Computer and Technology sector. It carries a Zacks Industry Rank #100, which places it at the top 39% of more than 250 Zacks industries.
The group’s Zacks Industry Rank, which is basically the average of the Zacks Rank of all the member stocks, indicates solid near-term prospects. Our research shows that the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries outperforms the bottom 50% by a factor of more than 2 to 1.
Before we present a few stocks that you may want to consider for your portfolio, let’s take a look at the industry’s recent stock-market performance and valuation picture.
Industry Lags on Shareholder Returns
The Zacks Internet - Content industry has lagged the broader Zacks Computer and Technology sector as well as the Zacks S&P 500 composite over the past year.
The industry has declined 42% over this period compared with the S&P 500’s gain of 2.4% and broader sector’s decline of 2.6%.
One-Year Price Performance
Industry’s Current Valuation
On the basis of the trailing 12-month price-to-sales ratio (P/S), which is a commonly used multiple for valuing Internet - Content stocks, we see that the industry is currently trading at 11.33X compared with the S&P 500’s 3.24X and sector’s trailing 12-month P/S of 3.62X.
Over the last five years, the industry has traded as high as 15.19X, as low as 3.11X and at the median of 5.30X, as the chart below shows.
Trailing 12-Month Price-to-Sales (P/S) Ratio
Stocks to Watch Out
None of the stocks in the industry sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) at present. However, we picked three stocks that have a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
These stocks are well positioned to grow in the near term.
Remark Holdings (MARK): The stock of this Las Vegas, NV-based operator of social media data intelligence platform, KanKan, has a Zacks Rank #2. Moreover, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for its 2019 earnings has remained steady at 85 cents over the past 30 days.
Price and Consensus: MARK
Perion Network (PERI): The stock of this Israel-based advertising solutions provider has returned 4.7% over the past year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its 2019 bottom line has stayed at a loss of 8 cents over the past month.
Price and Consensus: PERI
DHI Group (DHX): New York-based DHI offers data, insights and employment connections through specialized services for technology professionals. The consensus mark for its 2019 earnings has been steady at 26 cents over the past 30 days.
Price and Consensus: DHX
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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.